EDGEWATER -- Police Chief Dave Arcieri remembers the bodies like it was yesterday -- two stabbed men with slashed throats found in a remote area of the edge of the city near Interstate 95. It was obvious they were killed elsewhere and discarded here.
Buzzards flying overhead drew the attention of passersby on Opossum Road and the grisly find, which led to Edgewater police response.
That was Aug. 22. Gennadiy "Gerry" Burkatovsky, 36, was being held without bail Wednesday, one day after an Orange County grand jury handed up two indictments charging him with tow counts of first-degree murder in the slayings of 46-year-old Michael Shaffer and Danny Edwards, 49.
Arcieri said Wednesday he was relieved for residents who feared their was a killer on the loose considering the victims lived in nearby Mims just across the Brevard County line.
"The citizens can rest easy," said Arcieri, Edgewater's top cop just shy of a year and an 18-plus year veteran of the force. "I'm happy the families of the victims will have some closure and this individual is being held accountable for killing two human beings."
The circumstances behind the throat-slash slayings is bizarre. Edwards and Schaffer thought they were going to buy new identities, fake passports and a trip to Amsterdam on a private jet, prosecutors told the Orlando Sentinel. The Sentinel reported Wednesday them men paid $15,000 each for fake passports to fly out of Daytona for a flight to Amsterdam. Instead they ended up dead.
Edwards was facing serious time for drug convictions and didn't want to die behind bars and Shaffer was awaiting trial on domestic violence charges, according to the Sentinel story.
Both men thought they were going to be flown out by their accused killer's cocaine-dealer pilot, prosecutors told the Sentinel, adding they were killed either Aug. 18 or 19 in Longwood and their bodies emptied from a trunk in the remote wooded area of Edgewater where the buzzards were circling a few days later.